Torrential rain and menacingly dark skies on the journey. The hosts taking the lead within 90 seconds after a calamitous mix-up at the back. The portents seemed gloomy at the Chertsey home of Abbey Rangers FC. With Thorpe Park just up the road, was a potential Fright Night on the cards here for the Worthing FC Under 18s in this FA Youth Cup tie?
Happily, the lads soon banished any such prospect – they levelled the scores almost instantaneously, and took the lead with 6 minutes on the clock, both goals coming from Evan Hoarty. After 20 minutes, Luca Allen added our third, and coming up to the half-hour mark, Zac Jeanes broke at great pace down the right, his cross being turned in smartly by Jack McLelland. Jack nabbed his second on 38 minutes, showing good tenacity to pressure the Rangers defence, poking the ball home after the goalie failed to deal with a back pass. A couple of minutes later, Evan struck again to claim his hat-trick, his shot from 20 yards flying in to the keeper’s left – giving the young Rebels a 6-1 lead to take into the half-time interval.
Previous matches this season have seen the lads wobble a bit in the second period, but there was a business-like determination to their work this evening. Good build up play in the 50th minute left Cavan Gratwick able to pick his spot from 12 yards out, the entire Abbey defence statuesque as he drilled the ball beyond the by now rather despondent goalkeeper. The hosts managed to stem the tide for the next 20 minutes or so, though were rarely able to maintain any significant possession.
Worthing were not letting up, and the relentless pressure told eventually, Zac climbing highest to glance a header home on 75 minutes. From hereon, all semblance of resistance evaporated, Luca added two goals (one a penalty) to complete his hat-trick, Cavan’s tireless running saw him claim his second of the evening in the 89th minute, and with virtually the last kick of the game, Evan’s fairly innocuous effort from 20 yards out managed to elude the thoroughly demoralised opposition keeper, thus sending Worthing through to the next round with a 12-1 victory.